View Full Version : Farrier Rasp Steel

03-12-2006, 03:15 AM
Tried searching and didn't find the info I need so I'll ask.
A friend gave me a farrier's rasp - Save Edge USA brand and asked me to make a knife out of it for him. I am not comfortable annealing, forging, grinding, and heat treating a knife out of steel I know nothing about. Does anyone know what kind of steel is in these rasps? Thanks in advance:help:

03-12-2006, 07:53 AM
In theory, files and rasps would be made out of something on the order of 1095 and should make a pretty good knife. In reality, most of the files imported these days are made out of 'whatever' steel and then case hardened on the surface.

Treat it as a straight carbon steel and see how it turns out. I've seen some posted with part of the rasp still showing on the blade. Makes an interesting conversation knife - whether it's a really good blade or not.

Ed Caffrey
03-12-2006, 08:15 AM
In today's world you just don't know. The only files that I feel safe saying are actually high carbon/tool steel are Nicholson brand. One way to help you determine if it's usable is to quench test it. This is done by forging a section of it down to about 1/8" thick and then quench it in oil. Then take it to the edge of your anvil and tap on it a few times with the hammer. If it breaks like glass, then you have something that is usable for a knife. If it bends instead of breaking you've likely got something that is case hardened. You can take this one step further and try quenching it again in, this time in water, and see if it gets hard enough to break.
I always dread when someone shows up at the shop with something or the other and asks me to make them a blade from it....they just don't understand that in order to make them a decent knife I've got to know excatly what I'm working with. Most of the time I just try to find a polite way to refuse using what they've brought, and try to educate them on how important it is to know exactly what the steel is.

Mike Turner
03-12-2006, 11:21 AM

I am a farrier and have a lot ( around 600 ) of these rasps. I asked the same question back when I started making knives in Dec.. I called Simmonds and Save edge and was told they both where plain carbon steel. They are not case hardened. I have done some quench tests and both of these rasps shatter like glass. There is another post on the bladesmith forum that has some good info as well.

Hope this helps.


03-12-2006, 10:07 PM
Thanks to everyone for the help. I really like this place!

03-13-2006, 08:59 AM
Mike, what are used rasps worth(I know, loaded question)? I have a friend (!?) that has about 500 or them, and wants to sell them for $5 ea. I don't make knives from farriers rasps, I use 5160 and 52100. I do, however, like to play around with some of the things that can be made from rasps, like the snakes, etc. Now I don't want to buy 500 or them, but wouldn't mind a bucket full.

Mark Williams
03-13-2006, 09:30 AM
I get them for .30 cents a lb at the junkyard.

Ed Caffrey
03-13-2006, 11:32 AM
I agree with Mark.....$5 each is way outta line when you can get them at the scrap yard for .30 cents a pound. I know around here if you take them to the scap yard you'll only get about .20 cents a pound for them.

Mike Turner
03-13-2006, 06:37 PM
I agree with Mark and Ed $5 dollars is way to much, .30 cents is the going rate for scrap here. I would think being a friend he would give you a bucket full. Another thought is, the farrier supply shops usually have a place where guys can throw old shoes and rasps. Might be worth checking out. I know being a farrier it can be hard to throw them away especially when they cost $16 to $20 a piece :eek: and they only last for about 20 to 50 horses.


03-13-2006, 07:10 PM
Wow! I'm glad I checked into this. Thanks guys.

03-13-2006, 09:47 PM
Never paid a penny for one, but they just keep showing up in my steel box and the back of my truck. Made a primitive/frontier bowie from a "Save Edge" and left it with the local Farrier's Supply store owner/manager. He has it mounted on the wall behind the counter. I just pull around to the side door and park, go accross the street for a sandwich. Always a mystery..........

They make really interesting hawk heads. If you want to see one done by my buddy John Costa, come up to Trackrock Campgrounds the weekend of March 25th. I put a handle on one he did as a demo at the Georgia Guild meeting and dressed it up a little. Maybe he'll post a picture once he sees it. I'm not gonna spoil the surprise for him. We'll probably be making a few more that weekend, it's a hammer-in thing.

Even the case-hardened ones can be used for hawks, just slip a chunk of hi-carb in the middle and weld her up. No mystery there. The coarse side out makes a wicked looking head.